woman checking watch

Women's Health Services

Embryo Assisted Hatching

The Emory Reproductive Center routinely provides assisted hatching as part of our full range of IVF services. This process is used to help the developing embryo attach to the uterine wall, which increases the likelihood of achieving a viable pregnancy.

The skillful use of assisted hatching within our laboratory is just one more of the many factors that have led to the extremely high level of success achieved in our IVF program.

Conditions for Assisted Hatching:

During early stages of development, a non-cellular coating called the zona pellucida surrounds the embryo's cells. The embryo attaches to the uterine wall in a process called implantation, which occurs on day seven of development. Before this can occur, the embryo must escape (hatch) from the zona pellucida. The hatching process appears to result from physical stretching and rupture of the zona pellucida.

Some patients have a condition that reduces the ability of the embryos to hatch and implant in the uterus. Indications for assisted hatching include:

  • Advanced age — patients who are 38 years of age or older
  • Patients with elevated day-3 FSH (>10.0)
  • Patients with elevated day-3 FSH (>10.0)
  • Fragmented or poor quality embryos
  • Patients with previous failed IVF cycles
  • Thick or abnormal zona pellucida

How Assisted Hatching Works:

The procedure involves creating an opening or thinning in the egg wall (zona pellucida) and is performed just prior to embryo transfer during IVF. The opening or thinning provides a weak spot in the zona pellucida through which the embryo can hatch at the appropriate time of development.